Zodiac Killer, The
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Directed by Tom Hanson, who had previously owned a chain of Pizza Man restaurants, The Zodiac Killer was made to capture the real-life Zodiac Killer. That plan didn't work. Instead, we got the most outrageous and compelling ''tabloid horror'' vortex in the history of planet Earth. And beyond. During theatrical screenings, Hanson constructed in-theater ''traps'' to lure the killer from hiding. These included the use of an ice cream freezer filled with rent-a-cops and a raffle with a motorcycle as a prize. You won't get insight like this by watching a David Fincher movie. But you will get it while watching The Zodiac Killer.
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"The Zodiak Killer" was made when the public terror over real life Zodiac Killer was at it's zenith and from that perspective, the film is a rather shameless low budget cash-in. But by God it's gloriously awesome b-movie fun. Yes, the film takes MANY liberties such as creating a backstory and identity for the Zodiac Killer (played by Hal Reed, who does an excellent job playing the duality a normal put upon guy that you would consider a solid citizen, who is also a serial killer). The film also does an interesting job playing against expectations; Reed doesn't reveal himself as the Zodiac until the end of the film's first act, when his truck driving best friend is gunned down by the police after a nervous breakdown. And the film shows how the Zodiac managed to stay one step ahead of the police as the film shows a "greatest hits" version of Zodiac's reign of terror....
While Fincher's "Zodiac" was a rather soulless attempt to do a film which basically attempts to summarize the entire Zodiac Killer saga for those not well versed in the lore of the killer, "Zodiac Killer" embraces it's b-movie craziness. Reed is charismatic as the Zodiac Killer and scenes such as the film's final monologue, manage to ironically point out how serial killers have changed since the 70s and 80s heyday: hiding in plain sight and avoiding doing anything that might get them caught. Just like the original Zodiac Killer.
You might want to like yesteryear's grindhouse cinema to begin with, but then it's well worth a watch!
Production value was minimal ... some of the details of the Zodiac killer were included ... but overall pretty boring.
There's a scene where a guy about 60 asks a 20 something guy to hook him up with some of his leftover girls and tells him
you know how I like em ... plumb and dumb. The cover art makes this look interesting ... but it's really not.